Taner Akçam - Legal Disputes

Legal Disputes

In January 2007, the Turkish government officially launched an investigation against Akçam regarding an October 6, 2006, newspaper column in the Turkish-Armenian journal Agos. In it Akçam criticized the prosecution of Agos managing editor Hrant Dink for using the term "genocide", regarding the Armenian Genocide. The use of the term was construed by the prosecutor's office as the criminal offense of "insulting Turkishness" under Article 301 of Turkey's penal code. Highlighting the term "genocide", Akçam declared himself an accessory to the charges against Hrant Dink, and urged readers to join in Dink's support. Later in January 2007 an Istanbul court decided not to pursue the charges against Akçam.

Akçam faced harassment after discovering the identity of the creator of the Web site Tall Armenian Tale, which had called Akçam a "turncoat" and posted his personal information. Fearing reprisals à la Hrant Dink, Akçam entreated the Coordination Council of Armenian Organisations in France and president Sarkozy to pressure Ankara to protect him.

On February 16, 2007 Akçam was detained in Canada at the airport in Montreal for nearly four hours after arriving on a flight from the United States. He was due to give a lecture at the invitation of the McGill University Faculty of Law and Concordia University. In explaining his detention, Taner Akçam says that Canadian authorities referred to an inaccurate version of his biography on Wikipedia from around December 24, 2006, which called him a terrorist.

On February 18, 2007 he was also detained at the US border and has been so far unable to find out the reason for his being detained there. While on a lecture tour in 2007 he faced further harassment by various persons turning up and disrupting his various speaking engagements.

In October 2011, Akçam won a judgment in the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that the Turkish laws against "denigrating Turkishness" were a violation of freedom of expression.

Read more about this topic:  Taner Akçam

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